Well, I got some not-so-great news yesterday. It happened on a pretty big rehab we have going over in Calhoun. And by big, I’m talking about a complete gut job.
This house had a condemned sticker on it when we bought it, if that gives you any inclination as to its condition. But after some inspection and planning, we were able to get the building inspector’s office to sign off on our plans and drop the case. I guess you could say we were able to escape condemnation.
“Escape condemnation” — I just like the way that sounds.
To start with we gutted the inside of the house. That means we removed all floor, wall and ceiling covering so that all you could see was the subfloor and framing inside. This was no small task and took three 30-yard dumpsters.
Next, we moved onto framing. The house had some floor system issues that needed to be addressed. We got that done, redefined some interior spaces, made a master suit and fixed some faulty preexisting framing.
Then we installed new windows and exterior doors and had a new roof put on. Things were going well, and it was time for electrical and plumbing.
This house was going to need to be completely replumbed and have all new electrical. As such, we needed licensed contractors to get permits and do the job up to current codes so that it would pass inspection, and we used companies we had previously dealt with.
It was getting close to the holidays, so both the plumber and the electrician were itching to get paid. I understood and went ahead and cut checks at the time of completion. This decision deviated from our standard operation procedure (SOP). According to our work contract, a contractor is supposed to submit their invoice once work is complete, and then we are to go out and verify the work. Finally, we mail out payment the following Thursday.
This procedure ensures we never pay for a job that is incomplete.
The plumber sent me a picture of where the building inspector signed off on his permit. I was good with that and cut the check. The electrician is someone I work with all the time. I knew that their work would be right and wrote them a check too.
That was a week and half ago. Since then, the HVAC contractor has come in to do his work, and the house is now being insulated.
I had to send my guys back over there to do some final prep work for the Sheet-rocker who is coming next week. That’s when my lead man, Charles, called and told me there was no signature on the electrical portion of our permit.
I called my electrician to inquire about this. To make a long story short, he thought I was supposed to call to get the inspection. And I thought he was going to do it since he pulled the permit.
The reason for this confusion is that in some counties, the inspector comes out to look at the plumbing, electrical and HVAC all at once. That’s not the case here, and the electrical needed to be inspected by itself.
I have to admit, I was a little frustrated with this mix-up. That frustration compounded once we found out the building inspector’s office was closed for the rest of the year. I can’t put sheetrock up until we pass inspection. That fact means my jobsite is shut down until the inspector’s office reopens. This development is going to put us behind schedule and stuck paying mortgage interest and other holding costs on a vacant house we can’t work on. That’s not-so-great news.
So, who’s fault was this? It would be easy for me to blame the contractor saying they should have known better. It would be easy for me to blame the building inspector for taking the rest of the year off. It would be easy for me to blame others for … fill in the blank.
But at the end of the day, blaming others is a weak-minded thing to do, and it keeps you from being in charge of the situation. There is only one person to blame here, and that person is me.
I should not have deviated from our SOP and paid the contractor when I did. I should have verified that inspections had been completed before cutting checks and not just assumed everything was good.
It is my fault that my house will now be two to three weeks behind schedule. And I take responsibility and full ownership of that fact. And I can tell you this: It won’t happen again.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.